Norway’s Real Carbon Footprint

The population of the Kingdom of Norway is approximately 5.43 million people[1]. In 2018, 100% of the people in this Scandinavian country in Northern Europe had access to electricity[2].

In 2018, Norway’s economy was ranked 30th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP)[3]. The country’s economy is dependent on the export of oil, natural gas, petrochemicals, fish, aluminum, nickel, iron, and steel.

In 2016, the Norway signed the Paris Climate Agreement[4] and committed to reduce greenhouse gas emission by at least 40% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. In 2017, the Norwegian energy policy included stimulating further oil and gas production, while preparing for a future with lower oil and gas revenues.

In 2018, Norway’s state-owned electric utility, Statnett used renewable energy (97.5%), natural gas (2.0%), and coal (0.5%) to generate electricity in the country[5]. Hydropower is the dominant source of renewable energy in Norway.

Recent significant renewable energy projects in Norway include:

  • 208 MW Onshore Wind Project – In July 2020, French utility, ENGIE commissioned the Tonstad Wind Farm, which is located approximately 40 miles east of the city of Stavanger.
  • 88 MW Floating Wind Project – Norwegian national oil company, Equinor have begun construction on the Hywind Tampen floating offshore wind farm. The project will be located in the southern area of the Norwegian Sea, approximately 200 miles northwest of the city of Stavanger, Norway. The Hywind Tampen floating offshore wind farm is scheduled to be commissioned in 2022.

Norway will almost certainly generate 100% of its domestic power from clean, green renewable energy within the next few years. Yet in 2019, Norway exported over 630 million barrels of oil[6] and 4,025 billion cubic feet of natural gas[7]. Norway is the third largest exporter of natural gas in the world, following Russia and Qatar.

The sum of greenhouse gas emissions just from Norway’s 2019 natural gas exports is estimated to be 220,844 metric tons[8]! Norway will almost certainly meet their 2016 Paris Climate Agreement targets. However, Norway’s carbon footprint from oil and natural gas exports is comparable to much larger, industrialized nations. Is Norway a green, environmentally sensitive country? I don’t think so.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”


[1] Norway Population (2020) –  October 16, 2020

[2] Norway – The World Bank Group

[3] Gross Domestic Product 2019 – World Bank DataBank

[4] Carbon Brief “Paris 2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

[5] European Union – Electricity Generation Statistics, July 2020

[6] Statista – Oil Production in Norway 2000 to 2019

[7] Norwegian Petroleum – Exports of Oil and Gas 2019

[8] US Government, Environmental Protection Agency, Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator, March 2020

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